Pakistan and specifically KP confronted endless vicious terrorist attacks in the history, but the APS Peshawar attack implied vital importance, as this terrible incident changed the whole discourse on the war on terror in Pakistan. Remembering December 16 as a Black Day in Pakistan history, when in 2014 Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants carried out one of the deadliest terrorist attacks ever, martyring 150 innocents including 122 students in the Army Public School Peshawar (APS); a traumatising episode that still haunts many.
Soon after the attack TTP, a terrorist group which had been creating unrest for Pakistan since 2007, claimed responsibility for the brutal incident. TTP, also claimed that the children were their appropriate target because of studying in a military-run school.
However, this horrendous incident brought all the religious and political parties on one page, and a 20 point National Action Plan (NAP) was agreed in an all-parties conference conducted by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Peshawar. NAP was made on December 25, 2014, as an ample document describing in details the standard step to eradicate the jeopardy of militancy and terrorism. On its broader level, ISPR released motivational melodies identifying the Taliban as “other” and remembering the innocent lives lost.
Moreover, the media also played a vital role in endorsing harmony with the whole nation. Terrorists were no longer valorized by the media as the coverage of militants was banned, leaving a constructive impact on society.
Similarly, the APS attack led the government to progress with the military in carrying out security operations, on the ground and stepping up airstrikes in altogether seven Northwestern Tribal Districts, aiming TTP and other militant groups. The armed forces launched successful operation Zarb-e-Azb (The attack of the Prophet’s Sword), resulting in the killing of more than 4,000 militants and the fleeing of plenty to Afghanistan. Hundreds of brave army men also sacrificed their lives in eradicating terrorism from the region.
While the government and opposition, brought an end to the six-year suspension on the death penalty, reinstating its implementation on cases related to terrorism. The successful progress was that few days before the first Remembrance Day of APS attack, four militants were sentenced to death, involved in the school attack by the military courts.
Before this terrible attack the government was reluctant to combat terrorists upfront, however, the public took to the streets after the deadly attack and called strict action against the Taliban, hidden in the country’s tribal areas.
Moreover, the government instantly restored death punishment and carried out death sentences on ha number of militants since APS attack. New policies to tackle terrorism have been framed and massive military operations have been initiated to restrain the threat of terrorism nation-wide.